Wreck Collection

When I first went to New York in 1993, I didn’t realize then the impression the city would have on my then 9 year old psyche. As I was just interested in toys, Sega Genesis and colder weather, I had almost no interest in a city I barely knew about other than “this is where King Kong died.” Looking back on the ’93 excursion as I got older, it was a trip of many firsts and still remains as one of the best experiences I’ve ever had, even though I was not aware of just how much it meant to me. Aside from learning streets and taking public transportation, I tasted the simple joy of a sidewalk hotdog and pretzel, discovered that paradise is called “FAO Schwartz” and most of all I fell in love with a wonderful game.

The reason I bring this all up is because a few nights back, I found excerpts from the travel journal I wrote in during my trip. Most of the pages are gone sadly but having kept some mementos like bus maps, brochures and even receipts from that trip, a good part of the ’93 Life Changer was literally pieced together that evening. This time capsule buried underneath plastic and instruction manuals instead of dirt and erosion still managed to, for lack of a fitting term, encapsulate some of my thoughts, most of which immature and/or gullible, over the course of a full month or so.

I turn 28 in just under 24 hours. Depending on when this goes up or when this gets read, I may have already finished my year long run as a 27 year old. I chimed in about this on Twitter and it gave me one hell of a brainstorm/brainfart combo. If you told this to my teenaged self, who was still knee deep in learning about the music he wanted to appreciate while trying hard to be “film critic,” he probably would have balked at the idea. Back then, there was this almost self-obsessed belief that being 27 was THE year to do it all, and the year to supposedly end it all. While of course never (that) serious, not a month went by where my friends and I would rib each other, saying that we should all die in about 12-13 years so we could just burn out and not fade away. Joplin, Hendrix, Morrison, Cobain all did it, so it’s probably cool right?

You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to conclude that the things you say and believe in tend to change over the years. Yes, as you get older, you look back on the things you said and did when you were younger and it’s often true that you laugh about how shortsighted you once were. Along with those laughs are also cringe-worthy moments that you either want to forget for the rest of your days or even deny that they actually happened. We do a lot of stupid shit when we’re younger but we often straighten out by the time we reach 18. When the country you live in has a legal right to execute you for doing even stupider shit as an adult, I think it’s about time you reassess what you do for fun around your parts of the woods.

This also means I am less than 24 hours away from being officially an adult for 10 years. That’s going to apply to many of the once kids in “my generation” who have now since leveled up into working adults. We now have every right to preface many of our stories with “10 years ago” and they rarely are exaggerations. This exciting yet anxious reality started to weigh on me in the past few days and funny enough, it was that passing Twitter Thought that put it way out in the open for all to see (All 260+ people following me there.) Personally, 2012 has been crazy so far and I admit has had more downs than ups with me. Not quite the same comparison I had hoped to have with the 2011-2012 Rangers season, but I know it can only get better (or even worse) after I put this blog post up.

As much as I hate to admit it, it’s only now that I’m realizing things I probably should have earlier on. As a late bloomer in life, I wouldn’t say I’m last to know things, but rather I take my sweet time in assimilating myself to things I should have knowledge of already. But I won’t dwell on that since I’ve spent a lot of my life catching up on things and this should be no different. With nearly a decade of legality under my belt and gut, I thought I’d share 10 things that I’ve learned as an adult in those 10 years, either right away or the hard way. Most of these will be painfully obvious to everyone, but that’s really not the point. This isn’t meant to be mind blowing or thought provoking, but rather a progress report or summary of things I’ve been picked up over the years, all rolled into 10 points that are probably similar to the next one. So maybe you can see this as my first step to being the neighborhood crazy old man dispensing his first bits of life advice to the youngins he’s surrounded with. Many of these points tie in with each other.

I’m sorry there’s no TL;DR version. But I came up with this list in a few hours so I hope you take the time to read it. Christ, I’m writing this while Rodan is tearing ass all over Japan. But anyway.

1. Never forget what (and who) brought you to the dance

We certainly outgrow things from our early years, not just physically, but many of our hobbies and interests as well. We sometimes lose the excitement we once had for things we loved, or just one day wake up to realization that we need to find something new. Think of it like transferring from one school to a new one you’ve never heard of. You leave your identity behind your old school and you reboot your life according to things that you’ve learned from it so you can start over. If you were made fun of in your old school for liking Pogs or Magic: the Gathering, you make it a point not to bring it up in your new school over fear of getting stuffed in a locker or threatened in a school hallway for being the weird kid.

But the truth is that there are some things that are just so engrained into your identity and character that they can better your life if celebrated instead of forgotten or discarded. Even if there’s an interest decline at some point, the things you loved the most as a kid can also grow up with you. There has to be reason why you gravitated to unusual things and you’d be surprised how much happiness you can get out of it.

I’ll give you an example. As unlikely as it sounds, there was a period of about two years where I stopped watching ice hockey and pro wrestling at the same time and I couldn’t call myself a fan. At the time, wrestling was in a decline and my interest waned greatly with repetitive matches and lack of development with certain talent. Meanwhile, my hockey team was going through a serious slump and the press began to give them holy hell for it. Even as I began to branch out and appreciate other teams and players, ESPN stopped showing hockey games. And really, It’s also hard to find fans of an ice sport in a tropical country. So I quit on both and I tried to get into basketball and American football instead since I knew more people who were into it. While I did pick up and did become a fan of some teams, my heart and mind were still were on the ice. Thanks to the Internet I managed to keep track of seasons and slowly got my legs back. After the lockout, I was back in form and haven’t looked back since. I still feel the same exuberance I felt back in ’94 when I made a crude sign for the Rangers out of an unused folder that I kept flashing to my screen.

As for pro wrestling, the product did eventually get better and it won me back. While I do have gripes about the current product and wish for many changes, there’s nothing I would trade it for ever again.


2. Time is not always on your side

No matter how much the song wants you to believe in the opposite, it’s not always true that time is your friend. Call it Doctor Who’s influence or just “one of those things” where you catch yourself in deep (cynical) thought, one of the biggest things I came to terms with in my first ten years as an adult is that time does not advance every second. It advances every important moment in your life that you come across. What counts as “important” is up to you in the end. The point is that the more you get used to them, the less of them you will have and suddenly, as you get older, time just passes you by. I don’t like the clichéd expression “where did the time go?” as people need to pay attention to life happening around them. It’s better instead to believe that you just have to keep up with the pace and live out what you want to do at the speed of time.

Each day, week, month or year is a vessel of fixed capacity, to be filled with memorable incidents and stories. Every day can be observed in a way that is worth sharing-A birthday party, a baptism or even a 5 hour conversation you fantasize having.

Living doesn’t start when you’re born. It starts when you know for a fact that you’re alive. Find what’s good and make it last. Because there’s nothing else. One life, one chance.

3. There is no such thing as a guilty pleasure

I am a big fan of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. You’d already know that if you’ve seen my occasional tweets and reblogs about the show. If you also saw the new shirt I bought AND Twilight Sparkle messenger bag, there’s no other way I can make it clearer. I’m not going to get into a discussion over the Brony community or what makes the show so great that you should watch because I’m not here to do that for this point. But I will say now that it’s not a guilty pleasure at for me to say that I like a show catered to little girls.

Be it Friendship is Magic or what you would call a shitty movie, I honestly think that none of them are (and should be) called guilty pleasures. We’re taught early on that nothing is perfect and that even the most universally acclaimed things don’t appeal to everyone’s tastes. There are some folks that think The Godfather’s a terrible movie, or that the Star Wars prequels were actually better than the original trilogy. You don’t necessarily have to agree with them, but if it genuinely makes them happy and prevents them from hurting anyone, then more power to them. It’s crazy that we get so defensive when people like things we hate and love to tell them that they’re wrong. Then when everyone loves what we love, it doesn’t seem so appealing anymore.

The same can be said for music. Actually, this does apply more to music if you think about it. Backstreet Boys, Air Supply, Hanson, Survivor, Sheena Easton, Lady Gaga. These are people whose music I enjoy. I don’t necessarily look for their music on a daily basis but if a song comes on and I know the words, I’ll go along with it. When someone tells you Air Supply sucks, it doesn’t mean you should hate them too. People who genuinely love Air Supply or Survivor don’t feel guilty about loving them. It’s just great music that they find a connection to. Never feel bad about something that makes your life a little less shitty. Own it and embrace the supposed cheesiness the music brings, or that one movie that starred those American Idol finalists. Normies will never understand what makes them special.

On the other hand, when it comes to Nickelback or David Guetta, then I may have a problem with you.

4. Your worst trait can be your best teacher

Having grown up the way I did, I knew I was already set for a childhood and adolescence full of teasing. It was bad enough then to be that one boy who had no interest in playing sports and just wanted to instead play video games and read in grade school, but being the resident fat kid as well? In an all-male school to boot? Shit, the closest thing I can describe it is like being hit with a buff that meant twice the damage to my already fragile self-esteem.

As an outsider already physically, I have a lot to be thankful for. When I consider how traumatizing growing up was, I never stopped to think about the positives it had on me as a person. With the beating my self-esteem took nearly every day (there was a point where I never wanted to go to school because of it), I made a promise to myself that I would never want to rob anyone of their self-esteem. My go to response to this has always been:

I know about rejection. Because of that, I endeavor to not let people feel rejected. It’s the fucking bane of my existence…..I am “that guy”. I’m a guy that understands what it’s like to be rejected. I don’t care who you are. It’s not like you walk through that door, I’m going to rob you of your dignity or anything like that. I’m pulling for you. Even if you suck, I won’t let you think you suck to your face. If I did you would never fucking know it.

I know what it feels like to carry a lot of weight in a society that’s very image conscious. It’s a thin person’s world, and we try to navigate within it without being made fun of.

I also never got into smoking of any substance simply because I thought I wasn’t really in the right physical frame to take it as a habit. My belief was that I was already eating my way into a heart attack and adding cigarettes and/or any recreational drug would speed up that process. And the minimum you should get out of life aside from not punching people in the face is to make the most of what time you have here because, again, it isn’t always on your side.

I’m currently the lightest I’ve been in the past few years and I’m still going. I should be on track to be the lightest I’ve been in the past 10 years (see what I mean about things connecting?) Let’s face it; you can only be cutesy about this whole thing until it starts to get real. You can only ride the “I don’t care how I look, it’s character that counts.” train for so long, that eventually you’ll need to hit a train station and switch cars to a better ride. The story of what turned it around is going to have to be told some other time, but I’m doing my best to feel better physically. I don’t see it yet because I’ve been this way forever, so I’m just going to keep on moving more and doing whatnot to get myself more active. But even if I finally become a normie and society fully accepts it, I’ll never forget the lessons I picked up when I wasn’t one since they’re the ones that brought me to this dance.

5. “Fuck” isn’t the worst F word you will ever hear

Yes, it’s kinda silly I make this a point after being called the fat kid. It’s just me trying to be clever really. There’s a great spoke word piece by Jack Wagner that’s often misattributed to George Carlin or Monty Python on the word. Why call a word that not only essentially means to both feel pleasure and procreate, but is the most flexible word in the English language, the worst of the bunch? “Failure” is much worse. So is getting “fired,” but only if you’re part of the work force. Having an attempt called “feeble” isn’t all that encouraging.

The worst would have to be being called a “friend” by women you really really like. That stings the most and it’s hard to respond to that when you’re called it.  Just heartbreaking really.

I guess what I’m really driving at here with this quick point is that not only do they make me feel bad, but in any medium, written or spoken, words are the foundation of reality. Mean what you say and your sincerity will reflect on them. Even if the things we want to say the most are sometimes the hardest to do. It’s obvious when you think about, but that doesn’t stop it from being difficult. Well that and the fucking Friend Zone needs to be destroyed.

6. There is no Number Six

I just thought having a list of ten sounded psychologically satisfying. But I could make up a point right here about things don’t always go the way you want them to. Even if something or someone tells you how it is, that “expectations vs. reality” graphic from 500 Days of Summer should always be on your mind. It sure as hell stays with me and quite frankly, that too also stings and hits right in the jugular. But it comes with the territory of taking huge risks and flying blind into certain situations. I may be taking the whole “why not?” mindset a little too far, but the unpredictability of adult life continues to fascinate me.

Or, you know, this is just some elaborate Battlestar Galactica reference. We’ll never know.

7. We are all after the same thing         

Belief is always going to be a touchy subject and I knew I had to get here sooner later. Out of respect, I’m not going to disclose where I stand because I don’t have an argument with anything, nor do I want any arguing to take place. What I can say though is that I’m satisfied with myself spiritually and I know many of you find solace in a belief system appeals to your senses and moral character. For that, I admire you because you’ve taken steps to not only sleep better at night but also making sure that you don’t harm others. I’m of course not talking about those extreme nutjobs from any side since I know whoever’s reading this is a good person and most definitely deserves good things.

That seems to be trend doesn’t it? Everyone wants good things to happen to them so they live by a moral code that makes the world better. Sure, it varies from one belief to another but the overall theme still stands. Yet there are still some people that think you’d be happier if you believed in the same thing they did because you’re wrong. This goes back to the earlier point on guilty pleasures. There is no one thing that is universally loved and it takes different strokes to move the world. We’re all after happiness, but it has to be stressed that not all paths to happiness will appeal to others. No one has to force the other to believe in the same thing they do just because they want the other person to be happier (or saved). If you find something that works and it means not wanting to kill or harm others and it gets you to sleep better, then go with it. You will be doing the world a great service by making it just a little bit better to live in for future generations.

I quoted Penn Jillette earlier this year saying

Whatever or whoever you choose to believe in, the highest ideals are human intelligence, creativity and love. Respect these above all.”

It’s an idea worth taking to bed at least.

8. The internet isn’t full of dickbags that pick on you when you’re down

I first encountered Internet vitriol some time in 2000. I don’t remember the circumstances but it was still a pretty alien thing for me to be called a stupid motherfucker by someone I’ve never met. While I know the Internet will always have a bad rap of slandering people anonymously, just remember that a total stranger can give you a pat on the back as opposed to calling you a Niggerfaggot while playing World of Warcraft (True story by the way).

Thanks to Twitter, passing thoughts like this:

Can be met with this:

And then germinate into something better.

It’s a nice reminder that for all that negative shit thrown it’s way, you know that humanity still exists online and that someone you will never meet face to face is pulling for you to be a better person.

9. Sometimes our big splashes are just ripples in a pool

I should put this out already to save the trouble: You will fail in life and you will fail on such spectacular levels that it isn’t even funny anymore.

The universe, both romantically and historically, has not really obeyed us as we layer on to it our own philosophical requirements to behave the way we wish. We often leave our fates in the hands of the universe and sometimes, even our best intentions and hopes don’t go the way we want them to. We can invest so much into something, be it financially, emotionally or mentally, and to have it come crashing down despite the efforts can be the worst feeling in the world. We’ll have maybe one perfect day out of thousands that are good, average or really bad. My most perfect day was back in June 2006 in an oft repeated story I probably won’t tell here. It’s one of those things that you have to hear from me.

In To Kill A Mockingbird, Atticus tells his children something about courage that I absolutely adore.

“I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do.”

On a personal level, 2006 was probably the worst of my first 10 years as an adult. Those who were around during the LiveJournal days are more than aware of this. Amidst that one perfect day, I’d call the ’06 period the Wilderness Years as I spent a good part of it finding myself. I failed on such a spectacular, colossal level that I had no idea how I’d recover. Eventually I did and the ride has been pretty good ever since, with a few bumps along the way.

The funny thing is that six years later, I never thought that I’d be reliving some of 2006’s best and worst times. Have I learned anything since then? Definitely. Am I anxious about facing the worst parts of it again? Oh indeed. I don’t exactly know what’s going to happen and I curse myself for having this preconceived idea of how ’12 will play out. It has made me miserable just thinking about it because the old ghosts and insecurities from that year suddenly came back. Yet the glimmers of hope and VERY cautious optimism are there as well. I think I think too much, as the song goes.

I guess what I’m really driving at here is that: Holy crap it’s 2006 all over again. But I’m older and hopefully wiser, so I sincerely hope nothing explodes in my face again. Figuratively. I shall wait also to laugh about this down the stretch.

10. “Know more about the world than you knew yesterday”

And lessen the suffering of others along the way.  Because you look for things like love, meaning, motivation, it implies they are sitting behind a tree or under a rock. The most successful people recognize, that in life they create their own love, they manufacture their own meaning and they generate their own motivation.

There are two ways into any person, body or soul: through the heart or through the head. The eye is less reliable, because it only sees – and what we see changes every day. But shit that’s lodged in your head or heart? That never goes anywhere. It’s not visible, so it’s an image that’ll never corrupt. The flesh decays, but memories of a feeling, an insight, and intellectual or spiritual impact? They only burn brighter with time.


The second half of 2012 is just around the corner and as said earlier, I’m honestly approaching it with more caution than I ever did. Things could all change tomorrow, or they could stay as they are. I probably just need time to recover from the past few weeks and I guess this pre-birthday blog entry shows that. No matter how close I’m cutting it to the actual date. I have something pretty cool to post after this but when that will be, I’ll eventually decide on. Even if I didn’t accomplish much with this, I’m kinda glad I put a lot of things out on Front Street. Maybe when I get back here, things will be different as the worst case scenario would be me being a blubbering mess.

Hank Green once wrote that sometimes, the world is a wish granting factory. I’ve seen it happen for others, I have yet to see this come way this year. I’ll hold out for that for however long.

Now if you’ll excuse me. I have a hockey team to support. Let’s go Rangers.

  1. May 8th, 2012

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